Ryan Gannon

rgannon1@bryant.edu

Hi, I'm Ryan Gannon and I'm a sophomore from Litchfield, Connecticut. I'm a Global Supply Chain Management major and an Environmental Science Minor. I also love to run and am a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams here at Bryant. Thanks for reading!


Olympic Stadium Tour and Hertha vs. Freiburg

February 22nd, 2015

To get the most out of a study abroad experience, it's important to immerse yourself in your host country's culture. This means trying the food, learning the language, and meeting the locals. It also means getting into whatever it is that those people are most passionate about. In Germany, as in many other of the world's countries, that means getting into soccer.

A few weeks ago, we were given a tour of Berlin's Olympiastadion, the massive stadium which is home to Berlin's own Hertha BSC, and has played host to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final and the historic 1936 Summer Olympic Games. This was just one of many incredible excursions sponsored and prepaid by CIEE.

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We were brought into the V.I.P box, the place from which Angela Merkel views sporting events, as well as the balcony which Adolf Hitler stood on as he watched the Olympic Games. We then went down to pitch level, and stood where Jesse Owens historically sprinted and jumped his way to four gold medal finishes. Finally we were shown the locker rooms used by the world renowned and musicians that come to the stadium to compete and perform every year.

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A week later, we returned to the stadium for a true Berlin experience, a soccer game between the home favorite Hertha BSC and Freiburg. The stadium buzzed with energy through the entire game; the fans were on their feet singing, chanting and waving flags down to the last minute, even when it was clear that their team would lose. Their indelible passion for the game is unmatched by any other I've seen.

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Thanks for reading,

Ryan

My Berlin Home

February 16th, 2015

When studying abroad, you typically have two options when it comes to housing:

You may choose to live in a homestay, where you will live with a host family. With this set up, you'll typically have "host parents" and often "brothers and sisters" around your age or younger. This is a great way for students to truly immerse themselves in the new culture and learn the language if you're not in an English-speaking country. Host families also provide meals, so you won't have to worry much about buying food or cooking.

The other common option is living in an apartment. I decided to go this route because I wanted the experience of being totally independent and self-sufficient: grocery shopping, cooking for myself, and using the public transportation system to get around. The program provider (CIEE, in my case) located the apartments for us and placed us in them. Where you end up, the number of roommates you have and where those roommates are from is entirely dependent on your specific program.

I was placed in the Mitte district, in the heart of Berlin and in close proximity to many of Berlin's historic sights. It is also close to the CIEE study center and a major transportation hub. I share the apartment with two other American students in the program; we each have our own bedroom and share a living room, two bathrooms and a kitchen. Needless to say, we were incredibly lucky, and CIEE did an incredible job of securing this location for us.

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Every study abroad housing setup offers a different and unique experience. In some locations, you may be placed in university dormitories. Some programs offer roommate contracts that state you can only communicate in that country's language while in the apartment. What's important is that for the time you're abroad, you truly make that place your home.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan

Greetings from Berlin!

February 9th, 2015

It's been a crazy two weeks, but I'm finally beginning to settle into life in Germany, where I will be spending this spring semester. After months of planning and preparation, it's somewhat surreal now that it's actually happening.

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I was lucky enough to fly out of JFK just before a blizzard shut down the East coast. After a long flight over the Atlantic and a connection in Moscow, I arrived in the morning in the great city of Berlin. This would be my first time in Europe, living in a city, away from friends and family, and I don't speak much German. Naturally I was a bit nervous and outside my comfort zone, but that's part of the point of studying abroad. I was (and still am) excited for the challenges and adventures that lay ahead.

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The city of Berlin is incredible. The population of 3.5 million is sprawled across 12 districts, each with its own unique "personality," all connected by a fantastic system of public transportation. Every day I walk through a fusion of the past and present; a difficult history and a progressive new outlook. Feats of modern architecture are flanked by old buildings riddled with bullet holes.

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Costs of living are incredibly low, and there's always an exciting event that can be enjoyed on a college student's budget. Beyond the countless historical sites and monuments, the streets are flush with hip cafes and restaurants that cater to young people as well as expats. You'd be hard pressed to spend time in this city and not meet lots of fascinating people from every corner of the globe.

Once I've settled in further (and taken better pictures), I will post more in depth about my experiences and the life of a study abroad student. Until then,

 Thanks for reading,

Ryan

Fidelity Case Competition

December 8th, 2014

Just about every student at Bryant takes a class called Computer Information Systems (CIS), typically as a sophomore. This course teaches you how information systems are developed and used to achieve business objectives. You also learn extensively about how to use Microsoft Excel, which is an extremely valuable asset in workplaces today.

As part of the course, we split up into groups of about five or six people classmates and work together on a major project, which is a case analysis competition. We are given a spreadsheet with hundreds of lines of data about a financial services group's brokers and their selling performance over three years. Our job is to use Excel to analyze this data and ultimately determine whether a marketing campaign employed by the company was successful.

Teams compete against each other within their own class sections, and the winner of each class goes on to a semi-final round. During the semi-final round, your team presents to impartial professors, who then choose six teams that will go on to the final round.

The final round is hosted by Fidelity Investments, on their beautiful campus which is just across the road from Bryant. My team and I had the honor of being finalists in this year's competition, and got to present our findings to some of the company's executives.

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It was a great chance to practice our presentation skills in a relatively high-pressure environment. Even better is the opportunity to show the company what you're made of, and get your foot in the door  for potential future employment. To top it off, Fidelity awards $600 and $400 to the first and second place teams.

 Thanks for reading,

Ryan

Big Accolades for a not so small school

November 25th, 2014

When I tell people I go to Bryant University, I'm used to the response being "What school?" or "Where is that again?" or something else along those lines. For a school as small as Bryant, with a campus that is off the beaten path, this is to be expected.

 But the word about Bryant is getting out. As the years go by, Bryant has been racking up more and more accolades from highly regarded national reviews and newspapers. The university's top notch business education opportunities and career placement services are drawing attention from such publications as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, to name a few.

Often cited is the very small student body, which means you'll never find yourself as just a number in a lecture hall. The classes are small and students form relationships with their professors.

Bryant has been praised primarily for its strength in accounting, marketing, International Business and supply chain management programs. In addition, the College of Arts and Sciences boasts highly recognized programs in Actuarial Mathematics, Economics, Biology and Communication to name a few. The undergraduate requirement that students integrate their major with a minor of a different field (i.e. a business major with a liberal arts minor) has also been recognized for promoting a balanced and well-rounded education.

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During this excited period of growth for the Bulldogs, you can expect a degree from Bryant University to be invaluable years after graduating.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan

The Chace Wellness Center

November 16th, 2014

Many incoming college students dread the notorious "Freshman Fifteen." And with a buffet-style cafeteria where you have access to as much food as you can eat, it's easy to get carried away. It's important, however, to make time in your schedule for the gym - not only to stay fit and healthy, but also because exercise is important to relieve stress in college.

Luckily, Bryant has a small campus, so it's easy to get to the gym (and hard to make excuses). Our facility is the Chace Wellness Center, which contains a pool and several squash courts. There is also an athletic center which has three basketball courts and is most often used for intramural competitions. The center offers another room which is used for fitness classes - spinning, yoga, and martial arts to name a few.

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Finally there is the gym itself, which always has enough equipment for everyone to use. And the machines cover every person's routine. Whether you use the treadmill or stationary bike, lift free weights or use machines, or just need a physio ball to do core work, you'll always have what you need.

What I like most about the gym is the atmosphere. It's not extremely intense, which is nice for someone who doesn't exactly focus on maxing out the deadlift and bench press. It's a laid back atmosphere, but everyone minds their own business, so you can focus on your workout and go your own pace.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan

NEC XC Championships

November 2nd, 2014

This past Saturday, the Bryant Men's and Women's Cross Country teams competed in the Northeast Conference Championships.

We made the trip over to Central Connecticut State University on Friday, where we attended a banquet dinner with all the other conference teams on the host university's campus. After a hearty meal and a short ceremony recognizing the conference's seniors and high-achieving scholar athletes, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for our biggest race of the year.

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The races were held at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, on the edge of CCSU's campus. We were lucky enough to dodge morning rain and ended up with pretty great cross country conditions.  Both the men's and women's teams put up awesome times, with a lot of personal bests - even on a course with a brutal hill in the middle of the course.

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 As teams, the women finished second and the men finished third, missing second by a small margin of only seven points. On the whole, this was the best finish in program history, and we've been improving consistently over the past years. All Bryant sports have been performing better and better since joining Division I several years ago. It's an amazing thing to be a part of, and a part of Bryant life that all students take pride in.

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Thanks for reading,

Ryan

Parents & Family Weekend: 2014

October 26th, 2014

Every fall, the university dedicates one weekend to the parents and families of Bryant's students. Events are held on campus from Friday afternoon through Sunday, and the bulk of the festivities take place on Saturday.

For most freshmen, college is their first experience with spending a long time away from home and their families. This weekend gives everyone a chance to relax, unwind, and catch up with loved ones that they may not have seen since August or early September.

The events go on all weekend, which gives families the opportunity to pick and choose what they want to attend and spend the rest of their time as they please. Some of the events include the President's and Dean's List Receptions and a State of the University address presented by our school's President, Ronald Machtley. This year also featured a Caribbean themed lunch and a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest put on by our drama club, the Bryant Players. And once again the Bulldogs football team pulled out a home victory against conference rivals Robert Morris.

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Thanks for reading,

Ryan

Study Abroad Decision!

October 19th, 2014

A few posts ago, I wrote about the process of applying to study abroad. Since then, I have submitted my application and will officially be spending this upcoming spring semester in Berlin, Germany!

The study abroad office has worked incredibly well to make the process go smoothly and sort everything out with CIEE, the program provider. At this stage I am getting classes approved so that I can get credit for Bryant classes while abroad (this is actually much easier than I anticipated).

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The idea of studying abroad is very exciting - it's hard to believe that soon I'll be spending four months in a foreign country. I know it will be a huge challenge; navigating public transportation, learning the language, traveling on my own, and even living in an apartment and cooking for myself will be totally new experiences for me. But with all those challenges I know that I will learn and grow quite a bit, and that's really why I'm going.

 Thanks for reading,

Ryan

The Supply Chain Management Major

October 14th, 2014

Bryant University is well-known for its excellence in business education. To most, that means concentrating in accounting, management, finance, marketing or the like. But my guess is that very few people, if any, think of Bryant's concentration in Global Supply Chain Management. In fact, many people aren't even aware that it's a field of study.

I recently declared my major in Supply Chain management. When people ask me what I study and I tell them that, I get one of two reactions. Many people look at me with a confused expression and ask, "What is that?" or "That's really a major?" The rest are people are those who are aware of the growing supply chain management field, and they light up and begin raving about what a great choice I've made.

Essentially, a supply chain starts when raw materials are harvested from the earth. It then includes all the activities of production, operations, transportation,  selling, etc. until the finished good is in the consumer's hand. To put it simply, a supply chain manager is in charge of making sure that all of these activities run smoothly and efficiently. As the Bryant academics site explains it:

"You will learn to integrate the key functions of marketing, logistics, operations management, computer information systems, accounting, and finance. You will span traditional business functionality and explore relationships that create value for multiple stakeholders across functions, organizations, and nations" (http://www.bryant.edu/academics/undergraduate/courses-of-study/global-supply-chain-management.htm).

In today's economy, the demand for qualified supply chain managers is growing rapidly. At the same time, however, a degree in supply chain management is not entirely common yet, so those who have one are very appealing to potential employers. I may be biased, so you can also take it from the Wall Street Journal, which mentions Bryant specifically for its up-and-coming supply chain program in this article:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324423904578523591792789054

I've also joined the university's club, the Society for Global Supply Chain Management, which does an incredible job of bringing in guest speakers, organizing site visits and educating its members on their options with the major. I spoke with a few of the junior and senior members of the club about their experiences. All of them had held internship positions with large, exciting companies. And, to quote one senior, "companies are literally throwing jobs at us." Sounds good to me.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan